DEL CITY, Okla. – A fire nearly destroyed a Del City sober group home. It happened just before 5 a.m. on Thursday near S.E. 23rd and Bryant.
“This is my bread and butter, man. This wheelchair is what gets me around and, now, it looks like it’s, I’m sorry, I’m going to need a minute,” Michael Ross told News 4.
Fighting back tears, Ross told News 4 what startled him when he woke up.
“I woke up, and my room was pitch black and I usually sleep with my TV on. So, I knew something was wrong. I really felt like it was just a breaker,” he said.
However, that wasn’t the case. The sober group home where Ross lives was on fire.
Once he smelled the smoke, Ross said he immediately woke his three roommates.
“By the time I woke them up and got them out of the room, I went back to my room to try and salvage some of my medications and things like that and walking apparatus, I had to bust out my back window. I couldn’t get out of my bedroom door after that,” he said.
Fire crews had to pull Ross through the window screen to save him.
Philip Flowers, who lives next door, captured the heavy smoke and massive flames on his cellphone.
“I just saw people yelling and screaming and saw big ole’ flames come out of the roof, and I was scared that it was going to spread farther,” Flowers said.
Fire officials said the fire started in the garage.
“The structure to the west had some considerable exterior damage just because of the radiant heat. It definitely had a fire load to it,” said Chief Brandon Pursell with the Del City Fire Department.
It was a terrifying close call.
Ross is still shaken but relieved and thankful to be alive.
“By the time I got to my window, I didn’t think I was going to make it out. I lost all the strength that I needed to get through that window,” Ross said. “I’ve never experienced anything like it. It was horrifying.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Fire officials said the smoke detectors inside the home did not have batteries.